On November 23rd 2019, the Mason Elephant Park & Lodge was incredibly proud to be the first elephant park in Asia to be officially awarded Gold Certification from the Asian Captive Elephants Standards.
Asian Captive Elephants Standards (ACES) is an independent enterprise providing elephant camps with the methodology, guidance, and on-site support to ensure all captive elephants are receiving the highest level of welfare possible through a rigorous assessment and audit process conducted by an experienced and dedicated team of elephant specialists, veterinarians, researchers, and conservationists.
ACES assess elephant camps throughout Southeast Asia to provide the highest level of elephant welfare for all elephants working in the tourism industry, where elephant camps must meet all 119 mandatory criteria to pass, and complete further standards for higher validation. ACES scrutinises all areas of camp management including elephant shelters, diet, veterinary care, socialisation, feeding, riding, physical and mental enrichment, staff training and entitlements and many other facets of camp care.
Over the last 2 years Mason Adventures has worked closely together with ACES by fulfilling 100% of the initiative’s mandatory criteria and over 90% of the strict advanced criteria to further develop all aspects of the park for the elephants, staff, and guests alike to continue to uphold a sustainable future for the critically-endangered Sumatran elephant.
The Director of ACES, Nicolas Dubrocard stated that “The Mason Elephant Park is an exceptional example of elephant-based tourism. All elephants are well socialised, provided with strong enrichment opportunities and receive the best veterinary and nutritional care available. We are proud of all the hard work the team at Mason Adventures have invested into their park and elephants, and this accreditation is very much deserved”.
The event which hosted the official handing over of the certification also presented an opportunity for Mason Adventures to showcase all the new additions and modifications across the park, and was attended by numerous prominent figures from Bali’s tourism and media industry as the event was not only a milestone first for the island of Bali, but for Asia as well.
The Sumatran elephant is among the world’s top 10 most endangered species on the planet, along with the Sumatran rhino, Sumatran tiger, and orangutan. The situation for these creatures in their native homeland continues to exacerbate so detrimentally that Sumatra continues to be reported as the world’s fastest growing deforestation nation on the planet.
Wild Sumatran elephant numbers are currently estimated at less than 800, and at the current rate it is predicted that this entire population could become extinct within the next 10 years. Wild elephants in Sumatra that aren’t poached or killed off by farmers protecting their crops are gathered and placed within local holding camps where sadly it is still commonplace to receive insufficient nourishment, no proper medical care, and where they are reported to be frequently left tethered in the sun for days on end, to the extent where the average life expectancy is only between 2 – 7 years for most.
Although the situation in Sumatra is direly uncertain, the Mason Elephant Park & Lodge continues to uphold a successful natural breeding program, with the fifth healthy baby born earlier this year in June and more reported on the way, to hopefully ensure that this beautiful species still has a future for generations to come.
The founders of Mason Adventures stated that if the situation was to miraculously take a turn for the better and drastically improved in Sumatra, in future they would be looking towards gradually reintroducing their gentle giants back into the jungles that they once called home.
CreditsInformation from the Bali Plus. Click here to see original article.